Proverbs 30:10
Accuse not a servant to his master, lest he curse you, and you be found guilty.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) Accuse not a servant—i.e., a slave, thus making his already hard life still more intolerable.

And thou be found guilty before God of having wronged him, and so have to bear the punishment.

Proverbs 30:10. Accuse not a servant unto his master — Without sufficient cause, for otherwise, in some cases, this may be a duty. As if he had said, A servant’s condition is in itself mean and miserable, and therefore thou shouldest not make it worse without great and apparent necessity. Lest he curse thee — Desire God to punish thee, which, though it might be sinful in him, yet, being deserved by thee, thou wouldst have reason to fear and expect; and thou be found guilty — By God, who is always ready to plead the cause of the afflicted.30:10 Slander not a servant to his master, accuse him not in small matters, to make mischief. 11-14. In every age there are monsters of ingratitude who ill-treat their parents. Many persuade themselves they are holy persons, whose hearts are full of sin, and who practise secret wickedness. There are others whose lofty pride is manifest. There have also been cruel monsters in every age. 15-17. Cruelty and covetousness are two daughters of the horseleech, that still cry, Give, give, and they are continually uneasy to themselves. Four things never are satisfied, to which these devourers are compared. Those are never rich that are always coveting. And many who have come to a bad end, have owned that their wicked courses began by despising their parents' authority. 18-20. Four things cannot be fully known. The kingdom of nature is full of marvels. The fourth is a mystery of iniquity; the cursed arts by which a vile seducer gains the affections of a female; and the arts which a vile woman uses to conceal her wickedness. 21-23 Four sorts of persons are very troublesome. Men of low origin and base spirit, who, getting authority, become tyrants. Foolish and violent men indulging in excesses. A woman of a contentious spirit and vicious habits. A servant who has obtained undue influence. Let those whom Providence has advanced from low beginnings, carefully watch against that sin which most easily besets them.Accuse not a servant - The prayer in Proverbs 30:8 does not shut out, sympathy with those who are less favored. Even the slave has a right to protection against frivolous or needless accusation. Others, however, render the words Make not a slave to accuse his master, i. e., Do not make him discontented with his lot, lest he afterward curse thee for having made it worse than it was. 10. Accuse not—Slander not (Ps 10:7).

curse … guilty—lest, however lowly, he be exasperated to turn on thee, and your guilt be made to appear.

Accuse not a servant, to wit, maliciously, rashly, or without just and sufficient cause; for otherwise, in some cases, this may be not only lawful, but a duty, as when a servant lives wickedly, or robs his master, or the like,

A servant; whose condition is in itself mean and miserable, and therefore thou shouldst not make it worse without great and apparent necessity.

Curse thee; desire God to curse and punish thee, which though it may be sinful in him, yet being deserved by thee, thou hast reason to fear and expect.

Be found guilty by God, who is ready to plead the cause of the afflicted, and upon strict search shall find thee guilty, and punish thee accordingly. Accuse not a servant unto his master,.... Wrongly, rashly, and without any foundation, nor for any trifling thing; unless it be in a case of moment and importance, when his master's business is sadly neglected, or he is injured in his property by him: especially care should be taken not to calumniate a servant, to abuse him with the tongue, as the word (g) signifies; the circumstance he is in should be considered, as a servant; and how severe masters are apt to be towards them, and therefore little matters should be hid from them; and much less should they be aggravated, and least of all should falsehoods be told of them. So Doeg the Edomite accused David to Saul, and the Pharisees accused the disciples of Christ to their Master, 1 Samuel 22:9; the apostle's advice is good, and agrees with Agur's, Romans 14:4;

lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty; or, "and thou shouldest sin" (h); that is, afterwards; and so the curse come upon thee he has wished for: or the sense is, lest he should curse thee before men, and hurt thy character and reputation; or imprecate a curse from the Lord, which he may suffer to come upon thee for sin. Aben Ezra interprets this of a servant, that flies from Heathen countries to the land of Israel, to be made a proselyte of; who should not be discovered, and returned to his old master.

(g) "ne crimineris lingua", Montanus. (h) "et delinquas", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Gejerus; "q. d. peccabis", Vatablus.

Accuse not a servant to his master, lest he curse thee, {g} and thou be found guilty.

(g) In accusing him without cause.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. Accuse not] Lit. tongue not; i.e. use not thy tongue against. Comp. Psalm 101:5, where the same Heb. word is used in the same sense.

lest he curse thee &c.] lest thy charge against him being not truth but “slander,” he imprecate upon thee a curse, which being not “causeless” (Proverbs 26:2) will come upon thee because thou art “held guilty.”Verse 10. - Accuse not a servant unto his master. Calumniate, slander not; μὴ καταλαλήσης, Theodotion; μὴ διαβάλης, Symmachus. Do not secretly bring a charge against a man's slave, and make his master suspicious of him; have a kind feeling for those in lowly condition, and do not render their lot more unbearable by insinuating false or frivolous accusations against them. Ewald and others would render, "Entice not a servant to slander his master;" but there is no need so to take the expression, as the hiph. of the verb is used in post-biblical Hebrew in the sense of "to calumniate." The Septuagint has, "Deliver not a servant into the hands of his master," which seems to refer to the treatment of runaway slaves (Deuteronomy 23:15). Lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty, and have to atone for it. The slandered slave imprecates a curse on his slanderer, and, as the latter has incurred vengeance by his word or action, the curse will not fall harmless (Proverbs 26:2); God's righteous retribution will overtake him, and he shall suffer for it. 4 Who hath ascended to the heavens and descended?

   Who hath grasped the wind in his fists?

   Who hath bound up the waters in a garment?

   Who hath set right all the ends of the earth?

   What is his name, and what his son's name, if thou knowest?

The first question here, 'מי וגו, is limited by Pazer; עלה־שׁמים has Metheg in the third syllable before the tone. The second question is at least shut off by Pazer, but, contrary to the rule, that Pazer does not repeat itself in a verse; Cod. Erfurt. 2, and several older editions, have for בחפניו more correctly בחפניו with Rebia. So much for the interpunction. חפנים are properly not the two fists, for the fist - that is, the hand gathered into a ball, pugnus - is called אגרף; while, on the contrary, חפן (in all the three dialects) denotes the palm of the hand, vola (vid., Leviticus 16:12); yet here the hands are represented after they have seized the thing as shut, and thus certainly as fists. The dual points to the dualism of the streams of air produced by the disturbance of the equilibrium; he who rules this movement has, as it were, the north or east wind in one first, and the south or west wind in the other, to let it forth according to his pleasure from this prison (Isaiah 24:22). The third question is explained by Job 26:8; the שׂמלה (from שׂמל, comprehendere) is a figure of the clouds which contain the upper waters, as Job 38:37, the bottles of heaven. "All the ends of the earth" are as at five other places, e.g., Psalm 22:28, the most distant, most remote parts of the earth; the setting up of all these most remote boundaries (margines) of the earth is equivalent to the making fast and forming the limits to which the earth extends (Psalm 74:17), the determining of the compass of the earth and the form of its figures. כּי תדע is in symphony with Job 38:5, cf. Job 38:18. The question is here formed as it is there, when Jahve brings home to the consciousness of Job human weakness and ignorance. But there are here two possible significations of the fourfold question. Either it aims at the answer: No man, but a Being highly exalted above all creatures, so that the question מה־שּׁמו [what his name?] refers to the name of this Being. Or the question is primarily meant of men: What man has the ability? - if there is one, then name him! In both cases מי עלה is not meant, after Proverbs 24:28, in the modal sense, quis ascenderit, but as the following ויּרד requires, in the nearest indicative sense, quis ascendit. But the choice between these two possible interpretations is very difficult. The first question is historical: Who has gone to heaven and (as a consequence, then) come down from it again? It lies nearest thus to interpret it according to the consecutio temporum. By this interpretation, and this representation of the going up before the descending again, the interrogator does not appear to think of God, but in contrast to himself, to whom the divine is transcendent, of some other man of whom the contrary is true. Is there at all, he asks, a man who can comprehend and penetrate by his power and his knowledge the heavens and the earth, the air and the water, i.e., the nature and the inner condition of the visible and invisible world, the quantity and extent of the elements, and the like? Name to me this man, if thou knowest one, by his name, and designate him to me exactly by his family - I would turn to him to learn from him what I have hitherto striven in vain to find. But there is not such an one. Thus: as I fell myself limited in my knowledge, so there is not at all any man who can claim limitless knnen and kennen ability and knowledge. Thus casually Aben Ezra explains, and also Rashi, Arama, and others, but without holding fast to this in its purity; for in the interpretation of the question, "Who hath ascended?" the reference to Moses is mixed up with it, after the Midrash and Sohar (Parasha, ויקהל, to Exodus 35:1), to pass by other obscurities and difficulties introduced. Among the moderns, this explanation, according to which all aims at the answer, "there is no man to whom this appertains," has no exponent worth naming. And, indeed, as favourable as is the quis ascendit in coelos ac rursus descendit, so unfavourable is the quis constituit omnes terminos terrae, for this question appears not as implying that it asks after the man who has accomplished this; but the thought, according to all appearance, underlies it, that such an one must be a being without an equal, after whose name inquiry is made. One will then have to judge עלה and וירד after Genesis 28:12; the ascending and descending are compared to our German "auf und neider" up and down, for which we do not use the phrase "nieder und auf," and is the expression of free, expanded, unrestrained presence in both regions; perhaps, since וירד is historical, as Psalm 18:10, the speaker has the traditional origin of the creation in mind, according to which the earth arose into being earlier than the starry heavens above. Thus the four questions refer (as e.g., also Isaiah 40:12) to Him who has done and who does all that, to Him who is not Himself to be comprehended as His works are, and as He shows Himself in the greatness and wonderfulness of these, must be exalted above them all, and mysterious. If the inhabitant of the earth looks up to the blue heavens streaming in the golden sunlight, or sown with the stars of night; if he considers the interchange of the seasons, and feels the sudden rising of the wind; if he sees the upper waters clothed in fleecy clouds, and yet held fast within them floating over him; if he lets his eye sweep the horizon all around him to the ends of the earth, built up upon nothing in the open world-space (Job 26:7): the conclusion comes to him that he has before him in the whole the work of an everywhere present Being, of an all-wise omnipotent Worker - it is the Being whom he has just named as אל, the absolute Power, and as the קדשׁים, exalted above all created beings, with their troubles and limitations; but this knowledge gained vi causalitatis, vi eminentiae, and vi negationis, does not satisfy yet his spirit, and does not bring him so near to this Being as is to him a personal necessity, so that if he can in some measure answer the fourfold מי, yet there always presses upon him the question מה־שׁמו, what is his name, i.e., the name which dissolves the secret of this Being above all beings, and unfolds the mystery of the wonder above all wonders. That this Being must be a person the fourfold מי presupposes; but the question, "What is his name?" expresses the longing to know the name of this supernatural personality, not any kind of name which is given to him by men, but the name which covers him, which is the appropriate personal immediate expression of his being. The further question, "And what the name of his son?" denotes, according to Hitzig, that the inquirer strives after an adequate knowledge, such as one may have of a human being. But he would not have ventured this question if he did not suppose that God was not a monas unity who was without manifoldness in Himself. The lxx translates: ἣ τί ὄνομα τοῖς τέκνοις αὐτοῦ (בּנו), perhaps not without the influence of the old synagogue reference testified to in the Midrash and Sohar of בנו to Israel, God's first-born; but this interpretation is opposed to the spirit of this חידה (intricate speech, enigma). Also in general the interrogator cannot seek to know what man stands in this relation of a son to the Creator of all things, for that would be an ethical question which does not accord with this metaphysical one. Geier has combined this ומה־שׁם־בנו with viii.; and that the interrogator, if he meant the חכמה, ought to have used the phrase ומה־שׁם־בּתּו, says nothing against this, for also in אמון, Proverbs 8:30, whether it means foster-child or artifex, workmaster, the feminine determination disappears. Not Ewald alone finds here the idea of the Logos, as the first-born Son of God, revealing itself, on which at a later time the Palestinian doctrine of מימרא דיהוה imprinted itself in Alexandria;

(Note: Vid., Apologetik (1869), p. 432ff.)

but also J. D. Michaelis felt himself constrained to recognise here the N.T. doctrine of the Son of God announcing itself from afar. And why might not this be possible? The Rig-Veda contains two similar questions, x. 81, 4: "Which was the primeval forest, or what the tree from which one framed the heavens and the earth? Surely, ye wise men, ye ought in your souls to make inquiry whereon he stood when he raised the wind!" And i. 164, 4: "Who has seen the first-born? Where was the life, the blood, the soul of the world? Who came thither to ask this from any one who knew it?"

(Note: Cited by Lyra in Beweis des Glaubens Jahrg. 1869, p. 230. The second of these passages is thus translated by Wilson (Rig-Veda-Sanhit, London, 1854, vol. ii. p. 127): "Who has seen the primeval (being) at the time of his being born? What is that endowed with substance which the unsubstantial sustains? From earth are the breath and blood, but where is the soul? Who may repair to the sage to ask this?")

Jewish interpreters also interpret בנו of the causa media of the creation of the world. Arama, in his work עקדת יצחק, sect. xvi., suggests that by בנו we are to understand the primordial element, as the Sankhya-philosophy understands by the first-born there in the Rig, the Prakṛiti, i.e., the primeval material. R. Levi b. Gerson (Ralbag) comes nearer to the truth when he explains בנו as meaning the cause caused by the supreme cause, in other words: the principium principaiatum of the creation of the world. We say: the inquirer meant the demiurgic might which went forth from God, and which waited on the Son of God as a servant in the creation of the world; the same might which in chap. 8 is called Wisdom, and is described as God's beloved Son. But with the name after which inquiry is made, the relation is as with the "more excellent name than the angels," Hebrews 1:4.

(Note: The Comm. there remarks: It is the heavenly whole name of the highly exalted One, the שׁם המפורשׁ, nomen explicitum, which here on this side has entered into no human heart, and can be uttered by no human tongue, the ὄνομα ὁ οὑδεὶς οῖδεν εἰ μὴ ὁ αὐτός, Revelation 19:12.)

It is manifestly not the name בן, since the inquiry is made after the name of the בן; but the same is the case also with the name חכמה, or, since this does not harmonize, according to its grammatical gender, with the form of the question, the name דבר (מימר); but it is the name which belongs to the first and only-begotten Son of God, not merely according to creative analogies, but according to His true being. The inquirer would know God, the creator of the world, and His Son, the mediator in the creation of the world, according to their natures. If thou knowest, says he, turning himself to man, his equal, what the essential names of both are, tell them to me! But who can name them! The nature of the Godhead is hidden, as from the inquirer, so from every one else. On this side of eternity it is beyond the reach of human knowledge.

The solemn confession introduced by נאם is now closed. Ewald sees herein the discourse of a sceptical mocker at religion; and Elster, the discourse of a meditating doubter; in Proverbs 30:5, and on, the answer ought then to follow, which is given to one thus speaking: his withdrawal from the standpoint of faith in the revelation of God, and the challenge to subordinate his own speculative thinking to the authority of the word of God. But this interpretation of the statement depends on the symbolical rendering of the supposed personal names איתיאל and אכל, and, besides, the dialogue is indicated by nothing; the beginning of the answer ought to have been marked, like the beginning of that to which it is a reply. The confession, 1b-4, is not that of a man who does not find himself in the right condition, but such as one who is thirsting after God must renounce: the thought of a man does not penetrate to the essence of God (Job 11:7-9); even the ways of God remain inscrutable to man (Sir. 18:3; Romans 11:33); the Godhead remains, for our thought, in immeasurable height and depth; and though a relative knowledge of God is possible, yet the dogmatic thesis, Deum quidem cognoscimus, sed non comprehendimus, i.e., non perfecte cognoscimus quia est infinitus,

(Note: Vid., Luthardt's Kimpendium der Dogmatik, 27.)

continued...

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